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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) | Founders Brewing Company

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89
very good
1,267 Reviews
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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale)Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
foundersbrewing.com

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.80%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Old ale brewed with molasses and oak-aged.

50 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-31-2005

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,267
Ratings:
4,607
Avg:
3.99
pDev:
10.53%
 
 
Wants:
210
Gots:
1,134
For Trade:
53
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,267 | Ratings: 4,607
Photo of russpowell
4.24/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cheers to czoch75 for this one! Thanks Clint, enjoying this as the Saints/Bears game goes to OT!

Pours an effervescent caramel with some sand colored head. Average lacing & head retention

S: Superb oaky bourbon notes, then a a whiff of dirt??

T: Bourbon soaked toffee, some caramel & a bit of smokeyness up front. Dryness dominates as this warms, along with boozey butterscotch & marmalade, vanilla & drambuie (sic). Finishes with some boozey oak, & butterscotch

MF: Medium bodied, moderate carbonation & some stickyness, thickens up as it warms

Drinks pretty easy, considering the style, ABV & dryness. This was on the verge of greatness, but needed more body or aging to pull it together

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Photo of smcolw
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Mild head that recedes a little too quickly to a single bubble layer. Very cloudy with lots of yeast chunks in the base of the glass. Milky but thin lace on the glass side. Lots of stickiness.

Toasty and malty in the nose. Lots of biscuit with a touch of chocolate. Very low hop bitterness.

Think thick and oily (from alcohol) brown ale. Nice hop finish, but the rest is all malt--rich and chocolatey. This is a beer that sticks to your ribs. There are sherry overtones and the biscuit flavor shows up in a subtle way.

This is a complex beer for the style, but rather than the hop/malt balance, this is more of a mystery tour of malt flavors.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.31/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Honestly, this so-called "Curmudgeon" doesn't seem all that misanthropic to me. Just a colder-climate version o' good ol' Santiago. Something like that. Anyway, the beer pours a clear ruby, tinted slightly toward amber, topped by a short head o' ecru micro-foam. The nose comprises biscuits, walnuts, rich caramel, and a stinging underbelly of bright fruit. A healthy boozy feel slices through dully, marring the nasal proceedings. The taste continues the malty tradition set forth in the smell, in the process transmogrifying the fruit into a hoppy bitterness, strong and dull. A touch of leather rules the aftertaste. I can't call this a balanced flavor, but I won't go so far as to declare a state of koyaanisqatsi either. Hell, that damn droning is just annoying (and kinda boring after a while, too). Ahem. The body is a hefty medium, with a light carbonation and a very slight mouth-coating feel. Overall, an OK brew, but not one I would regularly pursue by any stretch of the imagination.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.55/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a murky brown color with a very small head upon pouring, but it quickly reduces to some sparse bubbles on top. Little bits of particulate floating in this one. Decent lacing. with some forming on the opposite side I was drinking from.

S: Deep caramel, some butter, butterscotch, raisins, and a little bit of alcohol.

T: The taste is full of caramelized malt and dark fruits, mostly raisins, but also a little bit of fig and prune. Not as much alcohol as I was expecting based on the aroma. Slight butterscotch flavor on the backend.

M: Medium to full bodied, rather smooth with a good level of carbonation. Slightly sticky finish.

O: A slow sipper for sure. Pretty good, but not my favorite. Probably the first Founders beer I haven't really liked.

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Photo of billab914
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It poured a murky brown red color with a thin white scattered lacing floating on top of the beer. It left some great spotty lacing on the glass as I drank it.

The aroma has some dark fruit, raisin & plum like flavors to it. It has a sweetness to it as well in the nose. Some alcohol comes through as well but not too bad. Pretty nice overall.

The taste has a nice malty, dark fruit characteristic to it. It's moderately sweet and also bready. It finishes with more of the dark fruit flavors as well as a bit of a warming alcohol presence. Very nice and flavorful beer overall.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with carbonation being low. Drinkability is good, it was a very nice beer to sip on tonight after dinner. It had some great malty flavors to it and the alcohol wasn't bad at all for the abv%. Very enjoyable beer overall.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer is mildly hazy and appears orange to copper in color. The head is off white hued, measuring approximately an inch thick. A substantial amount of lacing is left on the glass.

The aroma offers malt, alcohol, oak, vanilla, banana, and rum.

The flavor is strong and complex. As prefaced in the nose, alcohol, malt, and banana are the prevalent flavors. The beer is still a bit hot, and could likely benefit from some cellar time.

The feel is medium-heavy on the palate, with alcohol content noticeable throughout. Carbonation is moderate.

Overall, a decent brew from a great brewery. This one is a good candidate for sharing a few ways.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Murky muddled ambrosia sits in my chalice large off white beige head that dwindles slow and leaves behind sparse lacing. Aromatics are the impressive part of the equation early on with herbal mint and pine scented incense, interesting spice mix almost like eating at an aromatic Indian restaurant. Malt highlights are deep alcohol infused ripened figs and plum with a touch of smoked peat whiskey highlights, talk about a cigar beer. By the way this thing never saw the barrel it's all malt, hop, water and yeast. Flavor provides excessive bitterness and massive malt, I love the mix. Alcohol esters with ripe big fruit profile includes hints of toffee with caramel infused tart apple, figs, and plum notes. Heavy pine lacquer bitterness, with vanilla oak and butterscotch notes. Heavy dry yeast tone with a soothing alcohol burn at 9.3%. Mouthfeel is full bodied yet doesn't hit the viscous level on my texture scale. Carbonation is natural smooth and cleansing between the brash bitterness and dry yeast profile. Ending notes on the palate are a blend of excessive malts and bitter earthy hop, great stuff. Drinkability, is excellent makes you overanalyze beer, for under three bucks this old ale may have pushed the style further than any other version I've had to date. Including the other famous Michigan version, this beats the pants off the Third Coast Old Ale, grab a Drew Estates Natural cigar and a four pack of this for an Old World experience.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a quite foggy rubyhued amber with a thick creme head. Nose is minimal with caramel and dark fruits and a malty overall tone. Slight bit of booze. Flavor carries a kick of liquid aspects (boozy burn) with an earthy tone. Dark fruits. Sweet tone. Feel is thicker on liquid and low on carbonation. For an old ale, this seems a bit...young. It's nice, but I think 2-3 more yearsmight do it justice.

Thanks to spointon for this one!

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.7/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a goblet. Thanks to lnashsig for this bottle.

Appearance - Deep amber body with little head and only a bit of lacing. Sediment floating about as I look throuh the body. Tough for these types of beers to really look appealing.

Smell - Apples! I smell lots of apples. It kind of reminds me of Short's Good Samaritan. It has an earthy maltiness to the aroma. Not a sweetness that I expect.

Taste - The taste really follows the aroma, but with the addition of hops in the finish. Apple flavor at the start with other malt flavors. A bit of caramel and some brown sugar, but it's definitely an apple fruit flavor I get most. The finish is an odd bitterness that I do not expect from an Old Ale. The hoppiness pushes it towards the barleywine category, but not too much.

Mouthfeel - Good carbonation for the style. The bitterness in the finish is the lingering taste. It's also a bit astringent. Not my favorite characteristic.

Overall - Not really what I was expecting from an Old Ale, but not bad. The apples aren't what I want in an Old Ale. I want strong malts, caramel and vanilla. Still, I didn't seem to have any difficulty finding a home for the beer once it got into the glass.

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Photo of stakem
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Brass Rail today during lunch. Served in a Sam Adams perfect pint glass it appears a clear amber color with some lighter orange colors around the edges and a thin lacing of yellowish tanned head. Spotty amount of lacing left on the glass. Aroma is of sweet malty grains with a touch of orange character. Taste has a welcoming warmth of alcohol that is also solvent in flavor upfront with a sweet malty caramel backing and light citrus hop bitterness that mingles with a flavor of bitter orange rind. The hop bitterness lingers in the mouth with a bit of a resine-like piney flavor. Medium to heavy body with a light amount of carbonation. Other flavors of grain linger in the mouth. As it warms, more residual sugars come out in the taste much like dark sugar akin to caramel that has somewhat of a smokey quality about it. Overall pretty decent but doesn't have the wowing factor that I have come to expect from most Founder's offerings.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.62/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear deep amber orange color with a smallish off white head that dissipates quickly to wisps of foam on the surface. The aroma is sugary and malty with a clear bit of ethanol. Brown and caramelized sugars among dark pitted fruit and a solid hit of alcohol with little to no hop nose. The flavor is sweet with the rich dark sugars that were present in the nose. Added bonus is rich milk chocolate melded with dark fruits and again tempered with a hit of ethanol. Medium to thick body with a light level of carbonation and a sweet almost syrupy mouthfeel. Good beer, I could drink it, but I was expecting a bit more from Founders, this one didn't wow me.

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Photo of jwc215
3.67/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours slightly hazed orangeish brown with a thin head that becomes a wisp. Some vanishing lace sticks.

The smell is of honey, caramel, nuts - reminiscent of honey-covered walnuts dipped in caramel. There is a fruitiness towards dates/prunes.

The taste is sweet - honey and caramel - not catching the 50 IBU's. Sweetness balanced by an ashy smokiness that leaves a burnt aftertaste. The burnt character shows in some sips more than in others, oddly enough. Not digging that part, which puts a dent in the flavour. Alcohol present, but not too sharp or overwhelming.

Full-bodied and a bit sticky. Mild carbonation does cut through the thickness.

Considering booziness and burnt notes in the aftertaste, it does glide down pretty easily. Since the style is so varied, I would say it fits the style well enough. An interesting brew that is quite good, though getting rid of burnt edges would go a long way.

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Photo of tdm168
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - dark amber with a thin, white layer of head that fades quickly

S - caramel, cake batter, sweet, bread, toffee, faint alcohol

T - caramel, bread, fruit, faint bitterness

M - medium to full bodied, smooth, perfectly carbonated

This is a nice, malty beer that is very enjoyable. The malts are very nicely balanced and the bitterness is more like a coffee-like bitterness rather than hop-like. My only disappointment is that the sweetness from the nose didn't follow in the taste. Honestly, that's only because I have a fondness for cake batter sweetness in beers. Ultimately, this is an enjoyable, drinkable beer with a nice flavor profile. It's well worth a try.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.94/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. Bottled April 8th 2011 off we go.

A very small but creamy light tan creme colored head of maybe one finger off the pour. Body is cloudy... maybe hazy... a classic dark amber color almost looking like the beer is frozen. No lacing at all.

Big malted body, and sweet brown sugar. Seems thick almost like molasses syrup.

Sugar sweet, and thick malt. Finish is an almost barleywine sense of chocolate and heat. Some mild hop bitters mix with the milk chocolate sense making this really interesting in terms of taste and feel.

Overall fairly solid, just out of the bottle the beer looks kind of lifeless.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.37/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Opaque magenta appearance, slim, thinnish head...likeable, for the style.

Wicked aroma, twisted, thick with dark fruit, port wine, brandy, anise, a bit woody, alcohol evident...fading a touch from the first...but a formidable presence right off the bat. Strong in all aspects.

Tastin'...Thick, clingy, full,old, huge, massive...what, again? A little sweet, and deliciuos,...yum...yum, yum, yum...Gets to mellowing here, and there, but still a magnificent presence. Nice barleywine, I mean "old ale". I mean, "whatever", all the way around.

Sweetness succeeds in the end, emboldened by the great fruity flavor and matched up with the booze. I love it. That's a fine compliment, from one curmudgeon to another.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.69/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Golden. A lot of sediment.

S - Alcohol on the front end. Riesling, hints of limeade.

T - Sweet alcohol downshifts into mild grapefruit and resiny hops. Raisins and malt in the aftertaste.

M - Boozy up front then smoothes out pretty quickly, but enough alcohol hangs around to keep your mouth warm throughout the drink.

D - The alcohol lets you know it's there, and delays you from pouring a second.

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Photo of BeerForMuscle
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Murky orange pour with a hefty amount of micro sediment floating super still through the whole body. Thin white lacing.

S - A nose full of oak bourbon barrel. Spicy ammonia like whiskey notes. Some malt sweetnes.

T - First thing is sweet oak barrel aged whiskey tang. Warming shot of alcohol and lots of oak and vanilla notes. Sweet throughout and spiced hard alcohol. Malt sweetness mellows the whiskey punch and creates a nice taste.

M - Soft and smooth on the mouth, this beer has some crispness up front. The carbonation is medium.

O - When I smelled this, I was afraid it would have too much bourbon flavor. Im really not fond of whiskey or anything of the flavor but this beer was pleasantly flavorful yet not overbearing in this regard. The sweetness balanced the bite.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.12/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a tumbler pint, the beer is a vibrant, rich, copper-ruby coloring with a good amount of bubbling in the beer that doesn't really move around much. Looks heavy. No head, but there is a ring of film around the edge of the surface. Aromas are rich and smooth, and extremely malty and layered. Some rich dark fruit and earthy highlights on the nose, also. Flavors are super smooth and rich, with a boozey, roasted, and old world fruit sweet in the backbone. Dates, raisins, and fig throughout the beer layer nicely with the heavier malt profiles of molasses. Earthy characteristics rough the beer up a bit and keep it interesting for your tastebuds. A slight peppery hopping at the end cleans the palate and prepares you to jump back in to the brew. The aftertaste is rich and slightly cloying, but pleasantly so. This one keeps stringing you along for more. The finish is rich and smooth, with a surprising cleanness at the end. Very tasty, and not overpowering despite the strong flavor profiles and increased ABV.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.02/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Extra from jsanford, thanks Jacob. Served in a Bruery tulip. Beer is brown and hazy and forms a thin broken nearly non-existent head even after a rough pour. Looks OK.

Beer smells caramelly slightly alcoholic. Smell is really nice.

Beer is thick and syrupy. Very heavy. Its strong and heavy on the palate. This is much bigger than I expected but its still good. Overall an enjoyable big strong ale.

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Photo of ShanePB
3.53/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Having not had this beer in well over 1.5 years, I decided to give this another try. Served on-tap at, poured into a 12 ounce goblet.

A: Ruby copper colored body, fairly clear but definitely has a bit of haze. Small off-white head that didn't last too long, nor did it leave any real lace on the glass. To style, it looks alright; nothing spectacular but touches above average.

S: Deep dark, rich caramel malts, brown sugar, molasses and a definite boozy element. Not overwhelmed by any one quality but towards the end the oak is more noticeable. Fresh, matured oak wood creates an additional layer of depth but doesn't take the aromas deep enough, in my opinion.

T: Initially there's nothing on the front of the palate, instead it's consumed by the boozy bite from the swallow. Another sip, along with some palate adjustment, brings forward the dark and rich flavors. Molasses, burnt sugar and dark fruits (fig, raisin) are halfway in. The back end and finish leaves with a strange astringency from the oak. Overly woody and a bit out of place it seems. The alcohol doesn't fuse with the wood notes like other great wood/barrel-aged beers do.

M: Fairly well carbonated and a bit thinner on the palate than I would have recalled or liked. Not watery but not the feel I was hoping for in an Old Ale.

For me, this style is certainly hit or miss and while I don't think this was a complete miss, it wasn't a dead-on hit either. There are some really nice complexities in the beer but also some very tangent flavors. There doesn't seem to be a mastered balance in the flavor profile, but it still does have qualities that make it enjoyable.

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Photo of stevoj
3.96/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Very tasty, malty ale. Pours out a murky, orange copper color with spare head. Malty, musty, woody aroma, fall leaves and decay. Taste is some sweetish malt, a hint of alcohol, maple syrup, toffee, caramels. Very delicious and very easy to drink. Gone before you know it....

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Photo of Tone
3.72/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy, amber color. 1/4 inch head of an off-white color. There is also suspended sediment. Good retention and slight lacing. Smells of yeast, strong alcohol, slight oak, and slight citrus hops. Fits the style of an Old Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of strong alcohol, oak, slight citrus hops, slight yeast, and hint of sweet malt. Overall, overly strong in the alcohol, not very complex, but definitely warming.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured in to Founder's tulip glass.

A - Medium translucent amber colour with one finger of bubbly off-white head.

S - Caramel, raisins, toffee, brown sugar. Not getting any oak.

T - Caramel, toffee, oak, brown sugar and a touch of vanilla.

M - Medium to full body, chewy. Light carbonation. Great mouth feel.

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Photo of tempest
4.23/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a single from the Main Party Store in Ann Arbor for $4 and change.

I used to think I wasn't a big old ale fan, but this throws that idea out. This was both drinkable and delicious at over 9% alcohol. This beer reminded me of a lot of the wonderful flavors in a barrel-aged beer (minus the wood) for the smooth mixture of vanilla, spiced rum, and fruity malts. I'd say this one is near the top of the style. A must-try for old ale-lovers.

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Photo of Gavage
3.59/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: cloudy orange color with a short one finger head that falls apart immediately.

Smell: fruity sweetness, caramel, and some alchohol.

Taste: malt and fruit sweetness abounds, along with some honey, caramel, and alcohol. Bitterness tries to bring it back in check but falls a bit short.

Mouthfeel: medioum bodied. Smooth from start to finish. Long alcohol fueled aftertaste.

Drinkability: a decent beer but alcohol is a bit too up front here. Worth a try.

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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
3.99 out of 5 based on 4,607 ratings.
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